Posted: Sep 29, 2014 5:00 AM
My son can't sit still for more than five seconds. He's a busy, busy guy, but I am a writer and wanted to share my love of words with him. I'll never forget the first time he sounded out a word on his own. My eyes brimmed with tears and he smiled his biggest I'm-proud-of-me smile. So worth the little effort we'd been making the previous weeks.
Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images

My 4-year-old was having no trouble with the alphabet, so I was looking for a book that would help me introduce to him more difficult concepts of grammar. I came across the book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and I literally laughed at my computer screen. Right. I'm sure it's easy as pie.

For the last few months, my son and I have been taking our time working through the lessons, each of which takes 15 minutes, tops.

Before I continued my search, I browsed through the 933 five-star Amazon reviews, and decided it was worth a shot. For the last few months, my son and I have been taking our time working through the lessons, each of which takes 15 minutes, tops. I'm not religious about the schedule yet, because I want these first steps into literacy to be enjoyable for my son. But we've progressed to lesson 25, and yesterday he read, without assistance, "A rat is in a bag. That rat is not sad." I don't know who was more excited, me or him, as we erupted in giggles and cheers.

Reading is the stepping stone

Whether you intend to send your little one to public school, private school or school in your own living room, you can kick start a love for reading (and, by extension, learning) by working together on a reading curriculum. Once your child begins to read, all the knowledge in the world is open to them. Who better to open that door than a loving parent?

You really can do it

I seriously doubted my ability to follow a curriculum. I'm not a teacher, and despite my love for language, was concerned that I'd fail to communicate the concepts with clarity. However, books like the one I purchased assume you, the teacher, can read. That's it. Every lesson tells you exactly what to say, when to say it and even how to write out the letters in a way that jives with the curriculum. No teaching know-how required. And you don't have to even be good at English.

Give your kid a head start

Now that I've convinced you that you can do this, get on it. Most kids today are learning to read in kindergarten, but my son was well on his way before Pre-K, and many reviewers say they've successfully taught their 3-year-olds to read. Kids who can read upon entering kindergarten will already be ahead of their peers.

It's super fun

If you don't pressure your child or yourself along the way, this process is so much fun. Yes, days will come when one of you won't feel like it, but it gets more and more fun as you progress. Both you and your child will accomplish something you weren't sure you could do, and to me, that is the definition of fun.

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